What’s the Best Background Option for Your Sydney Headshot?

Here are 15 Headshot Background Options and Ideas

Pick Your Profile Photo Background from these Options

If you’re after a professional Sydney corporate headshot or business portrait, choosing the right background can be daunting. The headshot background you choose will depend on your profession, company, each individual’s role, and mood you want to convey. You should also consider what the staff members are wearing or their skin colour. After all it should be flattering and complimentary to everyone.

To help you out, we’ve put together a guide to the best professional headshot backgrounds, with some handy tips for choosing them. Whether you’re an experienced marketing or office manager, we hope you find this guide helpful.

List of All Headshot Background Options

  • Solid Pure White (Hex Colour #FFFFFF)
  • Radial Gradient with Grey to Black Background
  • Radial Gradient with White to Light Grey Background
  • Black Textured Background
  • Solid Black Background (Hex Colour #000000)
  • Linear Gradient with White to Light Grey Colour
  • Linear Gradient with Grey to Black background
  • Custom Requested background
  • Bright Coloured Backgrounds
  • Branded Logo Backgrounds
  • Patterned Background
  • City, Urban and Outdoors Background
  • Natural and Environmental Backgrounds

Headshot Background Examples We Use

Solid White Hex Colour #FFFFFF Headshot Background Example. By Orlandosydney.com

Before – Most popular is Solid White (Hex Colour #FFFFFF)

Solid White Hex Colour #FFFFFF Headshot Background Example. By Orlandosydney.com

After – Example headshot with Solid White Background (Hex Colour #FFFFFF)

Radial Gradient Grey to Black Headshot Background Example. By Orlandosydney.com

Before – Another popular choice is Radial Gradient, Grey to Black for a Headshot Background

Radial Gradient Grey to Black Headshot Background Example. By Orlandosydney.com

After – Example headshot with Radial Gradient with Grey to Black background

Headshot Background Radial Gradient. White to Light Grey.

Before – Background Radial Gradient. White to Light Grey

Headshot Background Radial Gradient. White to Light Grey.

After – Example with Background Radial Gradient. White to Light Grey

Headshots in Sydney with Black Textured Background.

Before – Black Textured Background

Headshots in Sydney with Black Textured Background.

After – Example headshot with Black Textured Background

Headshot Background Linear Gradient, White to Light Grey

Before – Linear Gradient, White to Light Grey

Headshot Background Linear Gradient, White to Light Grey

After – Example Linear Gradient, White to Light Grey

Headshots Backdrop Colour Examples, White, Grey and Black

Before – Solid Mid Grey Background

Headshots Backdrop Colour Examples, White, Grey and Black

After – Example with Solid Mid Grey Background

Headshots Backdrop Colour Examples, White, Grey and Black

Standard Options, White, Mid grey and Black

(We Also Accept Custom Requests, and Branded Backgrounds)

Common Backgrounds and Use Cases

Solid White Background

Headshot photos with a solid white background is our most popular request as it’s the most classic background. It’s perfect for ID photos, websites, social profiles, and tender documents, it’s versatile enough to fit in almost any situation.

To achieve a perfectly white background, we make sure to control the lighting. For a full studio lighting setup we place a light behind the model or staff, pointing at the background. An additional option is to use flags or enough space between the subject and the background to avoid light spilling. You can see photo examples on our mobile head studio page.

Who’s it for; Almost every sector uses white backgrounds, except the few listed below that typically prefer a dark option. Think hospital staff, clinical, mining, services, sales, research and related professions like both a white background and bright foreground.

White photo backgrounds also come with many post production options. Read more about them below plus lots more example photos.

Solid White vs Solid Grey Background Headshot Examples

Side by Side Comparison, Solid White vs Solid Grey Background Business Photos, Ready for LinkedIn Use

Solid Grey Background

A grey background is perfect if you don’t like going to extremes. Regardless of the shade of grey that you decide to use, you’ll still be using a neutral colour, so you can use this option for many subjects and situations.

Keep in mind that a grey background in portrait photography can mean many different things. Studio backgrounds for professional headshots come in different shades. For example, you can have many, many tones of grey backdrops. We do this mostly in post production for consistency and repeatability.

Who’s it for; Grey is useful when the brand calls for it, typically we see the lighter shades of grey used, not so much mid to dark grey and that can be a little bland and your staff may not pop out of their social profiles as much.

Gradient White Background

Have you ever noticed on some professional headshots that they have an elegant and seamless background? It could be because they used a gradient background.

But what exactly are gradient white backgrounds, and why are they so effective?

In short, a gradient white background has seamlessly transition from one shade of white to light grey, creating a smooth and elegant look. They still allow the subject to stand out while having a little extra interest in the headshots via this creative technique.

Gradient white backgrounds come with a few creative choices, the gradient can be linear, circular or radial for example. Linear can have white starting at the top and graduating downwards to a very light grey. With radial and circular gradients, the lightest part can be behind the model or staffs head or just below their torso to give the halo look. See photo examples below.

Gradient Grey Backgrounds

We get regular requests for grey background headshots with a soft gradient. Creativity allows us to produce many varieties of this option. Anything from a linear gradient starting with an off white at the top to a mid grey at the bottom (just for the background). The other option is to have a Radial gradient, that is, have it lighter in the centre and progressively gets a little darker towards the outer section. Similar to the white gradient above but a little darker.

It’s another popular choice for headshots, as it makes the subject pop and provides a modern, professional look.

But achieving the perfect gradient requires careful lighting and camera settings, as well as well developed post-processing techniques.

Who’s it for; A non solid grey background if done creatively can set you apart from everybody else using solid white for example. It is for any company that wants a bright attention grabbing headshot and be a little different at the same time. See examples below and on this page for black and white options.

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Linear Gradient, Off White and Grey vs Solid Grey for Easy Comparison

Linear Gradient White vs Grey Background Examples

Radial Gradient, Off White to Mid Grey Background Examples

Optional Radial or Circular Mid Grey Gradient in Black and White (slightly exaggerated for effect), more Black and White Headshots here

Solid Black Background

A solid black background is another classic or in other words, older style choice for headshot photos. This option is commonly associated with professional portraits because black backgrounds with well-exposed subjects are not easy to do without studio lighting. Technicalities says it not for the beginner photographers because of the staff is wearing a black shirt, black jacket or has black hair, we need to create some depth with a rim light to separate them from the black background. With prior arrangement we can bring in a black background.

Who’s it for; Legal and other business that prefer to have a mood / style that is more subdued, non showy and reflects their more traditional brand.

Textured Black Background

This is more popular than solid black, solid background can be a little too overpowering at times, even gone creatively. Most of the professions that use solid black backgrounds are in the legal professions. Whereas textured can be more versatile, it adds a bit of interest to the photo without being too plain, regardless as to whether it has a gradient or not. A simple background texture can be subtly impactful.

Who’s it for; We find that textured works better for most sectors such as suppliers and some associations in our experience. See examples below.

Textured Dark Background Examples

Two different types of Black or very dark Backgrounds, perfect for executive level photos for annual reports (Photographed at PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney)

Green and Chroma Screens

While more common in video production than in portrait photography, a green screen background is useful if you plan to remove the background to replace it with something else and want to do it in a hurry. This technique is called chroma-keying, and the green colour is used because it doesn’t match any skin or hair colour, so it’s very easy to select and remove if your model or staff is not wearing any shades of green. The best video editing apps allow you to quickly remove a green screen and replace it with another background.

We use white, grey and black backdrops and do not have issues in removing and replacing the background with modern software and techniques.

Who’s it for; Typically for video production, not so much for stills headshots sessions.

Bright Colours

Bright colours make the perfect background for fun and vibrant headshots. If you don’t have any restrictions, or can utilise the existing colour scheme that’s on brand, then you can get very creative.

You can choose the backdrop colour according to the subject’s eye colour, hair colour, skin tones, or outfit. The idea is to make the subject pop. To create a pleasing colour palette, use a colour wheel. You can follow colour theory to create a complementary scheme, a monochrome one, etc. Solid colours are great for models and actors’ headshots, or creative business professionals, children’s headshots, and any portrait photography for personal use. Creative agencies that are a little quirky are perfect for this style. A bright colour headshot background allows you to find the most flattering tone for the person and say something about their personality.

Who’s is for; Creative people or creative agencies. Or if you’re looking to pop out in your LinkedIn profile for sales and service people. It must, or should complement your personality.

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Bright Coloured Background Examples

3 Examples with a solid coloured background to match skin tone, Gradient colour, and with Complementary Background Colour

Textured Background

A textured background is perfect for adding depth and visual interest to your headshots without being distracting. You can also use them if you want to give a painterly feel to your photography. A textured background allows you to make a more stylized portrait. That’s why they’re more common for personal use. However, some professions allow for creativity, so depending on the type of business your client is in, they might pull it off, actors, for example, look great on a textured background.

DIY Backgrounds

If you like crafting, you can DIY a unique headshot background that fully communicates the person’s personality. Some headshot background ideas that you can DIY are balloons, fairy lights, party strings, wallpaper, etc. It depends on the situation. For casual fun portraits, this just might work. For serious business photos though, we suggest the other idea on this page.

This idea can also work well for commercial shoots where it adds to the story of the product you’re showcasing. Custom backdrops are common.

Custom Backgrounds

If you have a specific vision in mind for your headshot, you can always go for a custom background. This could be anything from a graphic design to a specific location. Custom backgrounds can be a great way to showcase your unique style and stand out from the crowd.

Patterned Background

If you want to add some visual interest to your headshots, a patterned background can be a great option. Make sure the pattern is subtle and does not overwhelm the subject.

We see this used the most with company logos, done creatively to subtly appear in repeat patterns on a media wall type of background.

Studio Backdrops

Studio backdrops are a popular choice for headshots because they provide a lot of control over the lighting and background. They can be solid colours, textured, or even have custom graphics. These backgrounds are great for more formal and professional headshots. Studio headshots can be created either in the studio or at your location.

City, Urban and Outdoors Background

Shooting outdoors gives you more flexibility in finding an original headshot background. Using the city as the backdrop, you’re communicating a specific message about your subject. You can use a skyline or city buildings as a headshot background for a casual and more approachable business headshot. Maybe for someone whose business is in the city and who is always on the go.

It’s also a good backdrop for senior headshots or couples. Anyone who has an urban lifestyle can have a city background. Another creative way to use the city as a headshot background is to shoot at night. This way, you can use the city lights to create a bokeh effect or the moving cars to create light trails. These types of headshots have an urban feel that is perfect for young models.

Natural and Environmental Backgrounds

Natural backgrounds are great for all types of staff, models and situations. Landscapes have such beautiful colours, and there’s such a variety of choices that you can’t go wrong. We regularly shoot with natural backgrounds in the city.

There are a lot of parks in the Sydney CBD area and we soft focus greenery for the headshot background. See examples below.

Natural Environmental, City, Urban and Outdoors Backgrounds

Natural Environmental, Views of Sydney Harbour, Urban and Outdoors Background Examples

FAQs for Headshot and Portrait Backgrounds

What is the best background for headshots?

The best background for headshots depends on the purpose of the photo and the brand you’re trying to represent. If you want a professional and classic look, a solid neutral colour like white, grey or black is your best option. However, if you want something more creative or fun, you can choose a coloured or textured background that complements your personal style.

What are the rules for headshot background?

There are no hard and fast rules for headshot backgrounds, but generally speaking, it’s best to keep it simple and unobtrusive. Avoid busy patterns, bright colours, or any distractions that might take away from the focus of the photo: that’s you. A plain or softly textured background in a neutral colour will ensure that you are the central focus of the image.

Should headshots have a solid background?

A solid background is a popular choice for headshots because it keeps the focus on the subject, (you or your staff) and eliminates any distractions. Solid neutral colours like white or black are particularly effective as they provide a clean, professional look. However, a solid background isn’t always necessary, it ultimately depends on the look and feel you’re trying to achieve.

What Colour background is best for a professional headshot?

For a professional headshot, it’s best to stick to neutral colours like white or black. These colours provide a clean and classic look that will never go out of style. Other soft neutral colours such as beige, cream, off white or some pastel colours can also be used effectively to create a softer, more approachable appearance. Bright, bold colours should be avoided as they can be distracting and may not convey the professional image you’re looking for.

Can I use a patterned background for my headshot?

Yes, but be careful that it doesn’t distract from the subject. Choose a pattern that is subtle and doesn’t clash with your clothing.

Do I need a professional background for my headshot?

It’s not necessary, but it can definitely make a difference in the overall look and feel of your headshot. If you’re looking to present a professional image, a solid or textured backdrop can help achieve that. On the other hand, if you want to showcase your personality or creativity, a natural or custom background might be a better fit. Ultimately, the choice is yours and should be based on your specific needs and goals.

Can I change the background of my existing headshot?

Yes, it is possible to change the background of your existing headshot through photo editing software. However, it’s important to note that this can be a complex and time-consuming process, especially if the original background has a complex texture or pattern.

The decision on what background you want for your headshot should be made before the shoot so changes, if possible, don’t need to be made via post production, which has some limitations.


As you can see, there are so many headshot background ideas you can use that the problem is deciding on one.

If you’re feeling this way, simply remember that the best headshot background is the one that’s flattering for the model or staff member and conveys the appropriate mood.

We hope you found this article useful. Let us know in which you like best.

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